WHAT LED YOU TO WRITE THE RESURRECTION?
A couple ideas were behind the writing of this book. Front and center was the reality of the miraculous. Christians make no apologies for believing some wild things. We believe in an invisible world of angels and demons. We believe Moses parted the Red Sea, Elijah called down fire from heaven, and Jesus walked on water. Despite our beliefs, many Christians seem to live remarkably mundane, miracle-less lives. One of the questions behind The Resurrection is What if a modern-day miracle actually occurred. How would people respond to it? What controversy would ensue? But there’s another tier to that question because there are no superheroes in the Bible. Those God used were often flawed, fumbling, and insecure people. These factors converged to form The Resurrection. I imagined a very ordinary woman, in this case an unassuming handicapped mother, who raises a boy from the dead. The story explores the repercussions such an event would have upon her, the people around her, and a town wrapped in spiritual darkness. It was challenging and a lot of fun!
STARTING OUT, WHO WERE THE AUTHORS WHO INSPIRED YOU? WHO INSPIRES YOU NOW?
Growing up, like every adolescent boy, I spent a lot of time in comic books. It’s hard to downplay the extent to which monsters and men in tights shape a young boy’s mind. Into my teens, I read a lot of speculative fiction: Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Weird Tales, etc. In my later years, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Flannery O’Connor, Charles Williams, and G.K. Chesterton introduced religious and philosophic themes into my fictional vocabulary. For more contemporary figures, I find Dean Koontz a great inspiration. I love his devotion to craft and his Odd Thomas is one of my all-time favorite characters. I also really like Tosca Lee’s stuff. She’s such a fantastic writer and I enjoy her noodling into deeper, darker theological themes.
HOW DOES YOUR FAITH INFLUENCE YOUR WRITING?
That’s such a huge question. In the movie Chariots of Fire, there’s a scene where Eric Liddell, the Flying Scotsman, is debating whether to become a missionary or compete in the Olympics. He says, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.” This might sound pretty conceited, but when I write I feel God’s pleasure. I feel like I’m doing something He’s gifted me to do. No, I’m not suggesting everything I write is great or that God hasn’t gifted bunches of people to do the same thing. I’m saying that I don’t take this talent, and the opportunities it affords, lightly. It’s like a sacred trust that He wants me to nurture and grow. My faith makes me want to work hard at the craft, remain humble, and let my imagination run wild.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU KNOWN YOU WANTED TO BE AN AUTHOR?
Not long, really. Mind you, I’ve always felt I wanted to be something; I just never had a name for it. I grew up in a dysfunctional home. As a result, I kind of stumbled through my teenage years. I had some artistic talent, sketched and painted, and doodled in poetry. I even wrote and directed a stage play in middle school. But to be honest, it was all rather exploratory. It wasn’t until I became a Christian that I sensed God might want to use those talents. As He would have it, a church I was once on staff with put together some discipleship curricula and I assumed the lead over the project. I wrote, researched, and designed the material, and had a blast. It really rekindled some of my creative spark. From there, I started studying the writing craft more, began some short stories, and became familiar with the publishing industry. It was a very slow process of personal discovery, risk, and hard work. Even now, as I’m looking forward to the publication of my second novel, I still feel like I’m on the front end of this huge learning curve.
WHAT DO YOU MOST HOPE THAT READERS GET FROM READING YOUR WORK?
Our world is such a vast, mysterious place! Sometimes I think we lose sight of this. There’s a story in the Bible about the prophet Elisha and his servant being cornered by enemy troops. The servant was terrified and Elisha prayed that his eyes would be opened. And Scripture says that the servant’s eyes were opened and he beheld chariots of fire surrounding the hills on their behalf. If I could most hope for anything, it would be that my stories do the same thing: capture a glimpse of an invisible reality. All around is a world of blazing mystery! Just beyond our senses are fantastical beings, angels and devils, and a great cloud of witnesses watching us in this arena called Earth. And we are center stage. How easily we lose sight of the spectacle that is Life. If my stories can capture some of that wonder, and open the eyes of readers to the horror and beauty and sacredness of our world, I’d be tickled pink.